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Ohio News

Ohio State Officials Revoke Bill Cosby's Honorary Degree

bill cosby
Tara Giancaspro
Flickr Creative Commons
Bill Cosby at a 2011 event.

Ohio State University trustees voted on Friday to rescind the honorary doctoral degree of Bill Cosby.

The university conferred an honorary doctorate of education on Cosby in 2001, when Cosby gave the commencement address at the spring graduation.

In light of the comedian's ongoing sexual assault litigation, school officials have been rethinking that decision. The Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee of the school Board of Trustees quietly advanced the motion on Thursday.

The move comes as Cosby returns to a Pennsylvania courtroom to face criminal charges stemming from his alleged assault of Andrea Constand in 2004. The case begins Monday, NPR reports, as Cosby faces "three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and molesting Andrea Constand."

When the case first went to trial in 2017, the jury deadlocked, and the judge declared a mistrial. More than 50 women have accused Cosby of assault, all the way back to the 1960s.

Cosby has received almost 60 honorary degrees over his lifetime, but in the wake of the assault allegations, several schools have acted to take them back. The University of Pennsylvania, the University of Connecticut, the University of Missouri, Brown University and others already voted to rescind degrees, while other schools removed Cosby's names from buildings, scholarships and other honors.

This story first appeared on wosu.org. For more stories like this, visit wosu.org now